WORLD MISSIONS AND THE LOCAL ANNUAL MISSION CONFERENCE
By Manuel Rogers
“A missions-minded church will be a strong growing church.” Hearing in childhood this statement from my pastor, the late L. J. McDaniel, I developed a heavy burden for missionaries. Then once a month and occasionally at a service with a real missionary, an offering would be received to support missions. Now after thirty years of pastoral experience I am trying to be a missions-minded pastor.
Somewhere along the journey, Partners in Missions and Faith Promise giving were introduced as a means to a more balanced method of supporting missionaries. I was greatly stirred and pledged support. Then came the task of interesting the church in sharing my burden and awareness of the missionary need. The real need was for a consistent support of missions from the church constituency. In the euphoria of the pledging it is easy to respond, but taking care of that pledge is another side of the coin.
I was introduced to the idea of an annual local church missions conference at a very opportune time. So for close to twenty years now, wherever I have pastored I have promoted this concept.
At Elim Tabernacle, where I presently pastor, the month of March is always very exciting as our church looks forward to the annual missions conference. In July 1979, when I became the pastor, the total missions giving in 1979 was $3,022. With the incorporation of a world missions concept, Faith Promise, Partners in Missions. and an annual missions conference, we contributed $37,440 in 1992. To God be the glory!
For a missions conference to be successful the pastor must have a definite burden for world missions. The world begins at the front door of wherever he calls home. He should share this burden with his local assembly on a regular basis.
After recognizing and sharing his burden, he could begin setting some goals he desires to accomplish. An example would be to plan to become at some future time a partner with all of our missionaries for at least twenty-five dollars a month. Of course, to increase present commitment the church must maintain consistent growth.
Then the pastor can set a date and plan to have a church missions conference around the same time each year. This is very important for maintaining individual as well as church enthusiasm. This missions conference is a reminder of present commitments and an excellent time for new commitments as well as increasing previous commitments.
The pastor should prayerfully decide whom he feels can best help the church reach its goals and invite them to participate in the conference services. He should promote the conference and its purpose well in advance.
Here is how I plan our missions conference at Elim Tabernacle. We have a service on Friday night. On Saturday afternoon we have an international dinner. Everyone brings a dish of his or her ethnic
background, and we decorate the dining area with a foreign theme. During the banquet time we have a program with a foreign flavor. We also enjoy a great time together.
On Sunday morning we present Faith Promise and give the commitment forms to be received on Sunday night. We take up the commitment forms during the evening service. When we announce the total amount committed, there is always a time of rejoicing.
The whole missions conference should be a very enjoyable occasion. Whatever plans the church and pastor make, all should follow prayer, asking for the help of God.
(The above information was published by THE PENTECOSTAL HERALD, August, 1993)
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